Levy rates, used to finance the work of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) are to remain unchanged – 85p/pig for producers and 20p/pig for processors – for the third year running, leaving the forecast net levy income from the pig industry at a little more than £9m.
“AHDB’s role is to help build a confident, competitive industry which is constantly learning and adapting, acquiring new skills, innovating and adopting new technologies,” said the board’s chairman Peter Kendall.
“We do a lot of good work but we can still work smarter and be more responsive and more effective for farmers and growers, through being more focused and more joined up.”
Commenting after the announcement that the Government had approved the “same again” levy position, Mr Kendall added: “During this year we will be thoroughly reviewing our strategies and activity plans. We will be discussing our spend priorities with levy payers; where best to focus our limited levy resources to deliver greatest impact for the long-term success of the industry.”
AHDB’s corporate plan for the coming year aims to deliver against five strategic priorities:
- to help levy payers improve productivity and cost management (resource management climate change, soils and water, managing market volatility),
- to help levy payers prevent and manage disease,
- to help levy payers deliver market development (export development, promoting quality products to differentiate against imports, market information and analysis),
- to help levy payers understand and adapt to the regulatory and policy environment,
- to help levy payers address labour market issues and skills development.
The forecast total AHDB net levy for 2015/16 amounts to about £57.3m, supplemented with grants and commercial income, forecast to be in the region of £8.3m. The funds raised from each commodity sector are ring-fenced to ensure they are used to the benefit of the sectors from which they are raised.